Grain Bins


Weather: The #1 crop variable

Posted on July 27, 2011

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, by now you are more than familiar with all of the things corn farmers are doing to become more efficient while producing record crops. But not everything is in the hand of the farmer. They may be able to choose their farming practices, seed variety and fertilizer, but one thing they can’t choose is their weather. Mother Nature affects every part of the farming cycle as it dictates when the field gets planted, if that seed grows, when the fields gets sprayed, when the crop is harvested and if that corn needs to be dried down.

Weather has seemingly unlimited variables. Too hot, too cold, too much rain, too little rain, hail, tornados and strong winds all have an enormous effect on crops throughout the Midwest. In order to produce a record crop or even a crop at all, these variables need to work out just right. All it takes is one hail storm or set of strong winds to flatten an entire corn field leaving the farmer with essentially nothing to show for his or her efforts.

For those who don’t farm, try putting on a pair of boots for one moment. Imagine driving out to a field which you have invested tens of thousands of dollars in seed, nutrients, fuel and land payments only to see that your crop is gone. Scenarios like this are completely out of the producers control and sadly happen quite often. Weather related disasters would bankrupt even the best farmers, if not for Federal Crop Insurance.

On a more positive note, America’s corn farmers are still expected to produce a record crop this year meeting the world’s demands for food, feed, fuel and fiber. And while the media may report about drought, heat and excess rains every now and again, working with those variable conditions is a daily chore in the life of a farmer.

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